Here’s Herald columnist Nick Patterson’s mock Seattle Kraken expansion draft, including each team’s projected protection list as determined by The Hockey News (with minor alterations to reflect transactions that occurred after publication), as well as the reasoning behind each selection. You’ll quickly see my penchant for picking younger players with upside, rather than older players who have more of a track record. I have no idea whether Kraken general manager Ron Francis is also so inclined, so this is the team I would pick, not my prediction of who Seattle will pick.
Remember, these are just projected protection lists, the actual protection lists will surely be different. Also note that there will likely be player movement this week that will shake up teams’ rosters, and therefore their protection plans.
And after checking out my team, it’s your turn to play GM. Go to CapFriendly.com’s expansion draft simulator, choose your protected lists, pick your team and email it to email@example.com along with your name and hometown, and I’ll share readers’ teams prior to next Wednesday’s expansion draft announcement. But a word of warning, give yourself some time because this process takes longer than you think (though you can save a big chunk by clicking one button to use the crowd-sourced protection lists).
Forwards: Isac Lundestrom, Rickard Rakell, Sam Steel, Troy Terry.
Defensemen: Haydn Fleury, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson.
Goaltender: John Gibson.
The pick: D Josh Mahura. He’s a fairly well-regarded puck-moving prospect who’s just waiting for an opportunity to show whether he can produce at the NHL level.
Forwards: Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel, Tyler Pitlick, Nick Schmaltz.
Defensemen: Kyle Capobianco, Jakob Chychrun, Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Goaltender: Darcy Kuemper.
The pick: G Adin Hill. He doesn’t have a lot of experience at the NHL level, but when he has been called upon he’s acquitted himself well, and at 25 he’s still young enough to improve, especially considering goaltenders tend to be the latest bloomers.
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Craig Smith.
Defensemen: Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McEvoy.
Goaltender: Daniel Vladar.
The pick: D Jeremy Lauzon. Boston has a couple young defenemen worthy of consideration in Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. While Zboril may have more offensive upside, I find myself swayed by the fact Lauzon was the one who received playing time during the playoffs.
Forwards: Anders Bjork, Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt, Victor Olofsson, Sam Reinhart, Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson.
Defensemen: Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, Rasmus Ristolainen.
Goaltender: Linus Ullmark.
The pick: F Rasmus Asplund. He’s young, he has draft pedigree, and he’s now established as an NHLer, so there’s the potential for sudden improvement. This is going to become a familiar theme, as I seek the Kraken version of William Karlsson, who busted out big time after being acquired by Vegas during its expansion draft.
Forwards: Mikael Backlund, Dillon Dube, Johnny Gaudreau. Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk.
Defensemen: Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev.
Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom.
The pick: D Mark Giordano. For the most part I stayed away from expensive players headed into their twilight years. But I still needed to reach the salary cap floor, Giordano is playing at a pretty high level despite being 37, and he only has one year left on his contract, so there’s no long-term commitment — plus he’s flippable at the trade deadline should Seattle be out of contention.
Forwards: Sebastian Aho, Morgan Geekie, Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck.
Defensemen: Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, Jaccob Slavin.
Goaltender: Alex Nedeljkovic.
The pick: D Jake Bean. He’s young, and he has elite playmaking skills for a defenseman. If there’s a player who might be available in this draft who could turn into Shea Theodore (who may have been the best acquisition Vegas made during its expansion draft), this is undoubtedly the guy.
Forwards: Alex DeBrincat, Henrik Borgstrom, Adam Gaudette, Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane, Dylan Strome, Jonathan Toews.
Defensemen: Calvin de Haan, Connor Murphy, Nikita Zadorov.
Goaltender: Kevin Lankinen.
The pick: D Corey Stillman. He’s not an exciting pick, but he’s young, he’s under contract, and the Blackhawks don’t have much to choose from.
Forwards: Andre Burakovsky, Tyson Jost, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin, Mikko Rantanen.
Defensemen: Samuel Girard, Cale Makar, Devon Toews.
Goaltender: Jonas Johansson.
The pick: D Ryan Graves. The Avalanche have a number of different ways they could approach their protection list, and someone valuable is going to be left exposed. In this scenario taking the big defenseman, who played top-four minutes for a Stanley Cup favorite, was an easy choice.
Forwards: Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Max Domi, Boone Jenner, Patrik Laine, Eric Robinson, Jack Roslovic.
Defensemen: Vladislav Gavrikov, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski.
Goaltender: Joonas Korpisalo.
The pick: F Kevin Stenlund. The pickings are pretty slim from the Blue Jackets, but there’s intrigue in the big-bodied forward, who adds value by being able to play center and being a right-handed faceoff man.
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Radek Faska, Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin.
Defenseman: Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell.
Goaltender: Ben Bishop.
The pick: G Anton Khudobin. In my column I talked about selecting some players who I originally had no intention of taking. One of those was Khudobin, but there aren’t a lot of other choices from the Stars, and if nothing else Khudobin would be a grade-A back-up.
Forwards: Tyler Bertuzzi, Adam Erne, Robby Fabbri, Dylan Larkin, Michael Rasmussen, Givani Smith, Jakub Vrana.
Defensemen: Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom.
Goaltender: Thomas Greiss.
The pick: F Evgeny Svechnikov. This a roll of the dice on a player with offensive ability who has yet to see that ability translate into NHL production. Given the state of the Red Wings’ roster, this is about the best one could do.
Forwards: Josh Archibald, Tyler Benson, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujavri, Kailer Yamamoto.
Defensemen: Ethan Bear, Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones.
Goaltender: Mike Smith.
The pick: G Stuart Skinner. I went ahead and picked a fourth goaltender. I’m not interested in injury-proned D Oscar Klefbom, and the 22-year-old Skinner provides a good age range among the four drafter netminders. There’s also a good possibility Skinner ends up being the Oilers’ protected goalie.
Forwards: Aleksander Barkov, Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Patric Hornqvist, Jonathan Huberdeau, Frank Vatrano, Carter Verhaeghe.
Defensemen: Aaron Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar, Keith Yandle.
Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky.
The pick: D Radko Gudas. This is 100% a homer pick, and it probably doesn’t happen if I wasn’t covering the Everett Silvertips in 2009-10 when Gudas was starring for them (D Gustav Forsling is probably a better pick, though it would require freeing up a spot for another restricted free agent). But he does tick some boxes. He’s a veteran who comes at a reasonable cost. He’s a right-handed shot, which is a valuable commodity for a defenseman. And the combination of his physical play, charisma and beard could make him an instant fan favorite, sort of the way Mitch Love was during the Tips’ inaugural campaign.
LOS ANGELES (7-3-1)
Forwards: Lias Andersson, Viktor Arvidsson, Carl Grundstrom, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Moore.
Defensemen: Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, Sean Walker.
Goaltender: Cal Petersen.
The pick: F Blake Lizotte. A bit of a surprising selection. I thought I’d be taking D Kale Clague, but Clague’s status as a restricted free agent, combined with the diminutive Lizotte’s ability to play center and penchant for defying expectations, convinced me to go a different route.
Forwards: Joel Eriksson Ek, Kevin Fiala, Marcus Foligno, Jordan Greenway, Zach Parise, Nico Sturm, Mats Zuccarello.
Defensemen: Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter.
Goaltender: Kaapo Kahkonen.
The pick: D Matt Dumba. This was one of the easiest selections to make. Dumba is a quality player who’s still only 26, and he’s that all-important right-shot defenseman. He’s a no-brainer top-pairing guy. The Wild are a prime candidate for a side deal in order to save Dumba, which is exactly what they did for the Vegas expansion draft.
Forwards: Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Jake Evans, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Phillip Danault, Tyler Toffoli.
Defensemen: Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry.
Goaltender: Carey Price.
The pick: G Jake Allen. He’s about as good a goalie as Seattle will have a chance to draft. He’s a good age for a netminder at 30, he’s been a quality NHL starter in the past, and he played very well as a frequently-used No. 2 the past two seasons. Can he be Marc-Andre Fleury good? I don’t know that he’ll be able to match the performance of Vegas’ expansion netminder. But I like his chances better than any other goalie available.
Forwards: Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Luke Kunin.
Defensemen: Alexandre Carrier, Mattias Ekholm. Ryan Ellis, Dante Fabbro, Roman Josi.
Goaltender: Juuse Saros.
The pick: F Yakov Trenin. Another upside selection, with the added bonus that he brings a little size to the table. I’m staying far away from pricey veterans like Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen.
NEW JERSEY (7-3-1)
Forwards: Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Janne Kuokkanen, Michael McLeod, Yegor Sharangovich, Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha.
Defensemen: Will Butcher, Damon Severson, Jonas Siegenthaler.
Goaltender: Mackenzie Blackwood.
The pick: F Andreas Johnsson. I didn’t select many players who have a goal-scoring track record in the NHL, but Johnsson has a 20-goal season under his belt, and at 26 there’s still plenty of opportunity for him to rediscover that form. He may just need a change of scenery. D P.K. Subban is an interesting option, but I preferred Giordano as my veteran blueline pick.
N.Y. ISLANDERS (7-3-1)
Forwards: Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Defensemen: Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock.
Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov.
The pick: F Kieffer Bellows. Well, if there’s any young player who could suddenly explode as a goal scorer, Bellows is the one. He’s been an underachiever so far, but he’s also been in an organization with well-established veterans in its top six, so an opportunity may be all he needs.
N.Y. RANGERS (7-3-1)
Forwards: Colin Blackwell, Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Mika Zibanejad.
Defensemen: Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba.
Goaltender: Alexandar Georgiev.
The pick: F Brett Howden. Another young player who may just need a chance. He’s been a fourth-line center for the Rangers, but the former first-round draft pick could break out if given an expanded role.
Forwards: Drake Batherson, Connor Brown, Logan Brown, Nicholas Paul, Brady Tkachuk, Austin Watson, Colin White.
Defensemen: Thomas Chabot, Victor Mete, Nikita Zaitsev.
Goaltender: Filip Gustavsson.
The pick: F Chris Tierney. Tierney is the absolute definition of a traditional expansion player: an unexciting veteran who isn’t going to do much to help a team win a championship. But he’ll be reliable center, and there weren’t a lot of choices from the Senators.
Forwards: Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick.
Defensemen: Philippe Myers, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim.
Goaltender: Carter Hart.
The pick: F Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Third-line material. A lot of mock drafts have Seattle taking James van Riemsdyk, and I have to admit I was tempted because he’s an established scorer and this team could certainly use more of that. But van Riemsdyk’s age (32) and $7 million cap hit over the next two seasons was just a tad too much for me.
Forwards: Sidney Crosby, Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel, Kasperi Kapanen, Evgeni Malkin, Jared McCann, Bryan Rust.
Defensemen: Brian Dumoulin, Mark Friedman, Kris Letang.
Goaltender: Casey DeSmith.
The pick: F Jason Zucker. He’s the most established offensive player I picked, having been a 30-goal scorer for a Minnesota team that wasn’t exactly known for lighting up the scoreboard. There will be several intriguing options available from the Penguins, but someone needs to play on Seattle’s top line, and Zucker should be up to the task.
SAN JOSE (7-3-1)
Forwards: Rudolfs Balcers, Logan Couture, Jonathan Dahlen, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier.
Defensemen: Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Goaltender: Josef Korenar.
The pick: F Dylan Gambrell. Another player I intended to avoid. However, unlike in the other cases, I was swayed less by the lack of other options and more by looking deeper into his background and seeing potential. The fact he’s a right-handed centerman sealed the deal for me.
ST. LOUIS (7-3-1)
Forwards: Jordan Kyrou, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn, Oskar Sundqvist, Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas.
Defensemen: Justin Faulk, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko.
Goaltender: Jordan Binnington.
The pick: F Sammy Blais. Everyone has Seattle picking D Vince Dunn from the Blues. However, I’m not particularly high on Dunn, and by picking Blais I added some much-needed sandpaper and physical play up front. He has some offensive upside, too.
TAMPA BAY (8-1)
Forwards: Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos.
Defensemen: Erik Cernak, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev.
Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The pick: D Cal Foote. The Stanley Cup champions will have a host of high-priced veterans available for selection, as well as some youngish forwards who have promise. But Foote probably provides the biggest upside. He has good size, he’s a right-handed shot, and he’s considered a top talent. If I were the Lightning I’d protect Foote ahead of McDonagh.
Forwards: Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares.
Defensemen: T.J. Brodie, Justin Holl, Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly.
Goaltender: Jack Campbell.
The pick: D Travis Dermott. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between players from the Maple Leafs (forwards Pierre Engvall and Joey Anderson were both on the list at one point), before returning to everyone’s conventional pick in Dermott. The fact he just signed a two-year contract leaves me doubting that he’ll be left exposed.
Forwards: Brock Boeser, Matthew Highmore, Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller, Tyler Motte, Tanner Pearson, Elias Pettersson.
Defensemen: Olli Juolevi, Tyler Myers, Nate Schmidt.
Goaltender: Thatcher Demko.
The pick: F Kole Lind. I’d be a little surprised if Lind is left unprotected, and I’d have no hesitation scooping him up. He’s been a solid scorer at the AHL level, and at 22 he has plenty of time to grow into a top-six performer. I wouldn’t turn down F Jonah Gadjovich, either.
Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Anthony Mantha, T.J. Oshie, Connor Sheary, Tom Wilson.
Defensemen: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Justin Schultz.
Goaltender: Ilya Samsonov.
The pick: F Daniel Sprong. He’s been buried on the depth chart because the Capitals have a deep forward group. But he’s a prime candidate to break out, given he scored 13 goals in 42 games the past season in a limited role.
Forwards: Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nikolaj Ehlers, Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler.
Defensemen: Dylan DeMelo, Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk.
Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck.
The pick: F Mason Appleton. This was a toss-up between Appleton and D Logan Stanley, whose size is intriguing but is a restricted free agent. Ultimately I decided the team needed Appleton’s offensive potential more, and that Foote was a preferable use for one of the 10 spots available for players not under contract.
So there you go, 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders. This team has holes — it’s short on established scorers and badly in need of a first-line center — but it’s set up for the long term rather than the short term, and there are so many lottery tickets with potential big payoffs that it has to hit on at least a couple of them. This squad came in at just $8 million above the salary cap floor, so there’s plenty of room to sign the restricted free agents and pursue an unrestricted free agent or two. And there’s a crowd on defense, so one or two could be used to trade for scoring.
I’m excited to see what Francis comes up with when the Kraken’s expansion draft results are revealed next Wednesday. I’m sure it will look nothing like this team, as he’ll have the ability to make side deals and negotiate with unrestricted free agents, which are things I chose not to speculate about.